Annual Conference for Middle Level Education

October 15-17, 2015, Columbus, Ohio

Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education

This special ticketed event is an add-on option to your AMLE2015 registration, and takes place on Wednesday, October 14.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Columbus, Ohio
Greater Columbus Convention Center

You are cordially invited to attend the Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education presented by Association for Middle Level Education in collaboration with the AMLE Professional Preparation Advisory Committee, the AMLE Research Advisory Committee, the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education and the American Educational Research Association Middle Level Education Research SIG.

Excellent middle grades teacher preparation is critical to the success of education. Whether you are just starting a program for middle grades educators or are involved in an established program, AMLE's Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education is for you!

Come share the latest information, trends, and best practices to enhance the quality of middle level teacher education!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Columbus, Ohio
Greater Columbus Convention Center


The best professional development investment that you will make this year features

  • Sessions on developing and sustaining exemplary middle level teacher preparation programs.
  •  Opportunities to network with other teacher educators.
  • Discussions about the future of middle level teacher preparation with colleagues from around the country.

This important symposium will ask compelling questions and address challenging statements and critical issues

  • How will middle level teacher preparation programs meet the ever-changing demands of the 21st century?
  • How will the teachers you prepare today improve education for young adolescents tomorrow?
  • Is your institution providing the specialized preparation needed by prospective and practicing middle level teachers?
  • How does your state assist colleges and schools of education in the national accreditation process?
  • Is your teacher preparation program nationally accredited?
  • How do you evaluate your middle level teacher candidates to ensure they will be knowledgeable and effective teachers?
  • How do you assess graduates of your middle level teacher preparation program?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Columbus, Ohio
Greater Columbus Convention Center

Who should attend this symposium?

  • Faculty members of colleges and universities
  • Faculty members of undergraduate or graduate middle level teacher preparation programs
  • Administrators of colleges, schools, and departments of education
  • Policymakers
  • Members of state departments of education
  • Anyone who participates in the preparation of teachers of young adolescents
  • Individuals interested in transitioning from middle school teacher to teacher educator

The Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Preparation will foster a learning community that is actively engaged in expanding the knowledge base about teacher preparation at the middle level.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Columbus, Ohio
Greater Columbus Convention Center


Breakout Session 1
8:35 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.

Room 1
11a - Fact and Fiction of Socio-Emotional Development During Adolescence

Bobette Bouton
Many ideas concerning the effects of puberty on socio-emotional development have emerged throughout the years. The presentation looks at three of the largest research studies concerning adolescence and explains how these studies helped to define adolescence while also establishing some myths that have adhered to adolescents in unflattering ways. The presentation will dispel these myths that many hold concerning adolescence and the connection between puberty and socio-emotional development. It challenges us to continue the search for a more valid and appropriate depiction of adolescence and how we, as practitioners, can support their socio-emotional development.

11b - Campus to Field: Student Teacher Perceptions of Theory to Practice
Carol Watson
As the Middle Level Certificate in Pennsylvania gears up after its first completers in 2013, we begin to recognize the issues and challenges that need to be addressed to improve and sustain it. One of those challenges is to develop a consistent and cohesive transition from the on-campus teacher education classroom to our public school classrooms in practice. Since the majority of our current middle level teachers earned certificates in either Elementary Education (PK-6) or Secondary Education in one content area (7-12) and have not been through a formal middle level certificate program, there is often a significant disconnect in many areas; particularly young adolescent development and pedagogy. This session reports the findings of a research investigation that sought to explore the level of connection from on-campus instruction to field practice in one middle level teacher education program in order to develop solutions toward improved practice and program collaboration.

Room 2
12a - Redesigning a Middle Level Teacher Preparation Program: Meeting New State Requirements

Steven Mertens, Gary Weilbacher, Douglas Hatch, Linda Haling, Ellis Hurd, and Robyn Seglem
This session will include a description of a newly redesigned teacher preparation program, the research basis for revisions, efforts to improve research on effectiveness of programs, and engage the audience in discussion of similar efforts at their institutions.

12b - Identifying Middle Grades "Teacher Preparation Programs to Watch": Beginning the Conversation
Nancy Mizelle, Nancy Bell Ruppert, and Joanne Previts
Dr. John Lounsbury writes that those involved in middle grades teacher preparation are the "torch bearers" for the middle grades movement into the next generation. The time has come for teacher educators to take the lead in assessing our own programs--to ensure we are holding ourselves to high standards for our candidates and ultimately their young adolescent students. Teacher educators working together to develop criteria for a "teacher preparation program to watch" moves us in that direction.

Room 3
13a - Middle Level Best Practice and Student Achieivement

Michelle Williams
In this age of high stakes testing and budget cuts, middle level best practice is often pushed aside. This session will share research conducted in Texas to determine the level of implementation of middle level best practices. Data will also be shared concerning the relationship of middle level practice to student achievement in math and reading. There will be discussion concerning how middle level educators can advocate for middle level best practice.

Room 4
14a - Reflections on Teaching the Teaching Cycle: Middle Level Teacher Candidate Experiences with edTPA

Holly Henderson Pinter and Kim Winter
This session includes perspective and voices of faculty and teacher candidates working with the teacher performance assessment portfolio (edTPA). Our program recently implemented edTPA as the assessment tool for licensure. Faculty used backwards mapping of curriculum designto aid in teacher candidate preparedness for success with the portfolio. Teacher candidates then completed surveys analyzing their experiences with edTPA after completion. This session will present perspectives from both views. Audience questions and discussion will be encouraged.

14b - Transitioning to edTPA: A Middle Grades Teacher Preparation Program Looks Back and Ahead
Stacie Pettit, Laura Rychly
We present findings from a study conducted with faculty in a middle level teacher education program transitioning to edTPA. By identifying areas of discrepancy between local rubric scores and SCALE scores, we address concerns about the standardization of teacher preparation programs. A model for integrating edTPA topics into existing coursework will also be shared. Participants will have opportunities to evaluate a sample portion of a portfolio and participate in technology discussions.

Breakout Session 2
9:55 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.

Room 1
21a - Using Concrete Dispositions to Evaluate Teacher Education Candidates

Lienne Medford and Bea Bailey
This session will look at a Teacher Professionalism Matrix (TPM) developed by one middle level program to evaluate teacher candidate dispositions, as required by CAEP. The TPM was created to avoid a number of pitfalls surrounding dispositional instruments.

21b - Assessment of Dispositional Attributes of Middle Level Teaching Candidates
Marc McCoy
Middle level education demands a special set of pedagogical skills and knowledge in order to effectively meet the needs of emerging adolescents. What are the dispositional qualities of effective middle level educators? How and where do the "science" and "art" of middle level education intersect, and how can teacher preparation programs cultivate this connection? This interactive presentation will explore current research and practice in helping develop the best new middle level teachers.

Room 2
22a - Middle Grades Teacher Preparation in the United States

Christopher Cook, Shawn Faulkner, Penny Howell, Nicole Thompson, and Nicole Miller
Middle level advocates have argued for specialized middle level preparation programs that provide candidates with appropriate knowledge to teach young adolescents effectively (Jackson & Davis, 2000; McEwin, Smith, & Dickinson, 2003). This session highlights the status of middle level teacher preparation in the United States and explores ways to provide a more consistent and specialized approach that embraces middle grades philosophy.

22b - Middle Grades Teacher Education: Regulations and Realities
Penny Howell, Christopher Cook, Shawn Faulkner, Nicole Thompson, and Nicole Miller
This session highlights current state regulations governing the licensure/certification of teachers for the middle grades in 50 states and the District of Columbia and how they influence specialized middle level teacher preparation.

Room 3
23a - Online Training Modules for Middle School Teachers

Katherine Main and Donna Pendergast
There is a gap in the knowledge and skills base of many teachers working with young adolescents and the need for effective and accessible professional development. Continuing professional development (CPD) is one of the most potent strategies for improving student outcomes. This presentation will demonstrate an online set of modules designed to upskill middle years teachers.

23b - When a Rookie Hits a Grand Slam: Modifying a Middle Level Lesson for ELL Students
Douglas Hatch and Stan Gillespie
A typical teacher education assignment: Modify a lesson for ELL students. This session is about an exemplary teacher candidates' extraordinary, comprehensive response to the assignment… A "wow" moment that has the potential to raise hopes for middle level ELL students and the middle level teaching profession.

Room 4
24a - Integrating Academic Language and Literacy: Spiraling Support for Teacher Candidates

Amanda Wall and Michelle Reidel
Teacher educators emphasize literacy and academic language across the content areas, but these are challenging topics for teacher candidates. Learn how one middle level teacher education program supports literacy integration and academic language for teacher candidates so they are better prepared to plan for, teach, and assess middle grades learners with language demands in mind. Presenters will share examples and engage attendees through Nearpod (

24b - Transitioning to Proficiency-Based Learning in Middle Level Teacher Education Classes
Jessica DeMink-Carthew and Carmen Petrick Smith
In this session, we will discuss the basic principles of proficiency-based learning (PBL) and share specific ways in which we have adopted this approach in our classrooms. Attendees will in turn discuss possibilities for incorporating PBL in their own classrooms. A digital Piktochart presentation will allow attendees to follow on their personal devices and save key ideas from the presentation for future reference. (BYOD is encouraged.)

Breakout Session 3
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Room 1
31a - To Hire or Not to Hire? Principals' Perceptions of Middle Level Teacher Candidates

Heather Rogers-Haverback and Molly Mee
Middle school teachers need adequate training to teach adolescents (Virtue, 2007) as, in addition to teaching the assigned content, they also teach life lessons, provide role models, and influence the lives of impressionable students (Lounsbury & Vars, 2003). While many states have established new programs, little is known about how those certificates translate into the marketplace. This presentation will describe a study that examined middle level principals' thoughts on those programs.

31b - Are We Ready Yet? First Year Middle Level Teachers' Perceptions of Their Teacher Education Programs
Heather Rogers-Haverback and Molly Mee
This research presentation will reveal findings from a study that investigated first year teachers' feelings about their abilities. Findings revealed that participants felt least prepared in teaching that supports English-Language learners and addresses special needs. Participants felt best prepared to work with classroom material and connect it to the real world.

Room 2
32a - Who Will Carry the Torch? Mentoring the Next Generation of Middle Level Advocates

Robin Dever, Paula White, and Diane Ross
Who will carry the torch of middle level advocacy and education to the next generation of professionals? How can we mentor those interested in middle level teacher education and research to continue on the legacy of those who mentored us? Share methods and strategies to foster the next generation.

32b - An Advisor/Advisee Program for Middle Level Teacher Education Students? Yes, Please!
Douglas Hatch, Ellis Hurd, Steven Mertens, and Gary Weilbacher
Advisor/advisee for college students? Yes, please! A panel of teacher educators will share their efforts in implementing an advisory program and will solicit ideas from attendees for topics and activities for the program.

Room 3
33 - Clinical Practices and Partnerships in Middle Level Teacher Education

Penny Howell, Jeanneine Jones, and Jan Carpenter
This session will highlight clinical practices and partnerships in middle level teacher education. We will review the variety of opportunities institutions have for creating partnerships or clinical experiences for middle level teacher candidates. As the field of teacher education emphasizes the role of clinical experiences within school-university partnerships, middle level teacher education programs can utilize this approach to highlight important concepts of middle level education. This session will be a conversation between audience members and presenters about their own partnerships and clinical practices.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Columbus, Ohio
Greater Columbus Convention Center


Wednesday, October 14, 2015  
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Welcome and Symposium Overview
8:35 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Breakout Session 1
9:55 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. Breakout Session 2
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Breakout Session 3
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Lunch (provided) and Keynote
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Discussion/Concluding Session

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Columbus, Ohio
Greater Columbus Convention Center


The Symposium is a special ticketed event of AMLE2015, the Annual Conference for Middle Level Education.

Tickets are $150, in addition to your AMLE2015 registration, and include access to all symposium sessions and lunch.

Register Online